Thursday, 27 March 2014

SLM Digest 28-2-14

This is the Weekly Digest of Save Lea Marshes - a round up of news, views and events for people who want to continue to see the local marshes and green spaces survive and thrive for both bio-diversity and the enjoyment of people.

IN WHICH WE TRUST (NOT) ... The long-rumoured and fast-tracked proposal from the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority (LVRPA), was tabled at a special Authority meeting yesterday afternoon, concerning the setting up of a Trust - the Lee Valley Leisure Trust Ltd., as an Industrial Provident Society with charitable status.  The principle reasons behind this move concern the 2014/15 LVRPA deficit - largely derived from a freezing of the levy (amounts agreed by member boroughs to support the body in its management of the Lea Valley Park area) - and a rise in rate relief incurred by taking on ex-Olympic venues, as well as, some would argue lack of expertise in income generation (e.g. lack of take up at the recently set up campsite at the Waterworks ..).  In fairness, the LVRPA does have a hard job balancing its aims - established by an Act of Parliament in the 1960s - with the cut and thrust world of post-Thatcher economics.  However, we should all be cautious in accepting the setting up of this trust (a) because of the possible conflicts it could incur with the originator body and indeed its founding act and (b) because of "mission creep", with the trust not only being responsible for the obvious money making activities of sports venues but throughout the park and all its various activities and environments - especially the open spaces which we all value.  Members did raise some important points yesterday and some very cogent arguments were received by others, which resulted in some amendments to the recommendations.  The two key ones I can enter here are:  (1) that the sports venues will transfer to the trust but that the precise scope of any additional venues to be transferred to the Trust shall be decided by the Authority at a later date and upon further review {that is taking more time to think about the diversity of other venues and when and if they could be added to the remit of the trust} - which could be dangerous and (1a) a Contract Award Notice is issued incorporating the Venues listed in scenario 2 (all venues) as set out in paragraph 42 and listed at Appendix G (as amended) in the report.  Providing all the financial, TUPE and consultant appointing etc. follows as plans, the trust could come into being in April 2015.
LVRPA "WORKSHOP MEETING" - feedback from the meeting last Sunday included on-going dialogue with the LVRPA  and Natural England about meadow management of the marshes.  Evidently, the LVRPA have a new one in process.  SLM has some ideas in process about this topic and if they mature, we'll report back later.
BLASTS FROM THE PAST -  following on from the workshop, SLM was sent a link to a very interesting video - see  - it shows how the marshes were in the late 1970s; a predecessor group to ours - Save Our Marshes (I was trying to spot any common people types!) and a feature on species.  This was followed up by one of our members about one of the people featured, who had discovered some of the species mentioned and a link to a feature in the "Hackney Citizen" in 2010, concerning Creeping Marshwort - see   We are going to try and track down those involved in the former group - who were primarily concerned with another serious threat to the marshes at that time - an LVRPA proposal to allow commercial gravel works to be dug and then used as a pay-to-use boating lake (how little times change!).
MARSH LANE ALLOTMENTS - the London Legacy Development body LLDC - met this week concerning plans to replace the allotments including allotment-holders who were uprooted from a long-standing site by the 4 week stint of Olympics and Para Olympics - with meadow and access routes to the Queen Elizabeth Park.  Now we SLM'ers are usually up for a meadow but this is designed to be a transitory "Instant Meadow" - which can quickly make way for other uses such as the 2015 EuroHockey Championships.  Supposedly designed with  biodiversity target in mind it will most likely be more "BOP  than BAP,  not much good for long-term eco sustainability.
MARSH GATE ACCESS TRACK - those of you that have noticed near the roadside of Marshgate Bridge of the steep swerve of tarmac; trouncing of trees and heaps of sand left behind (the latter evidently to deter car kit users ? no, me neither ..).  One of our members has finally had his complaints about these works being unlawful, being investigated  next week by the Head of Business Analysis & Complaints.  We await ...
PLEDGE - SLM members have drawn up as a similar pledge to one sent to prospecting Hackney candidates for the up coming local elections calling for protection of our open spaces.
WALTHAM FOREST LEA BRIDGE WARD - locals are also pressing for when the next ward meeting (still listed as December 2013) will be held to talk about the LVRPA's plans, the proposed re-opening of the Lea Bridge Railway station (some railway workers have been spotted recently) and the concurrent effects on building in the area.
TOTTENHAM HELL we have news that came up at the last Lower Lea Valley Regeneration meeting, that we did mention in a digest last year), that a developer is looking to develop a brownfield site next to a paddock and close to the Ferry Boat Inn, of housing blocks of between 5-8 storeys.  The LVRPA are not keen on more than 5 storeys on the site but despite its location, as it is brownfield, not much opposition is expected at committee.  However, there are issues over the impact of this development that SLM will support but feel it is better to have the coordination led by a more local group Our Tottenham.
NEED THEY ASK? - The Mayor's office have launched a survey "What should be the top environmental policies for London?"  If you feel moved to take part in Toad of Toad Hall's survey go to
EVENTS (loads of..)
With the above in mind, there is a protest on 6 March at 2.15 outside City Hall, against the MIPIM property fair (the biggest in the world), to try and urge Toad not to sell off London land to the speculators see 
FRIENDS OF BELAIR PARK - there is a consultation meeting with Arup on behalf of the Chrystal Palace developers Zhong Rong on Saturday 1 March - two sessions 11.30 and 1.30 accompanied by a historical talk on Chrystal Palace organised with the V&A museum.  Details 
BEATING THE BOUNDS - this annual, history tracing event across LAMMAS lands will take place on Sunday 25 May.  Further details will be sent round later.  However, for now please note that the previously advertised SLM Foraging Walk will not take place on the same day and has been moved to the following Sunday 1st June.-
DALSTON CURVE GARDEN - on March 1st there is a launch of "Digital Place" a community tool system from 11 to 4pm.  This would also provide a good opportunity to visit the garden, which was under discussion this week at a special meeting in Stoke Newington Town Hall, on the proposals to re-develop the shopping centre, which will have a negative effect on the current lovely space.
WALTHAM FOREST F.o.E group are having their first wildflower meadow planting day of the spring at Kitchener Park Walthamstow on Saturday 29 March and second wildflower planting day in Lloyd Park, Walthamstow on Saturday 26 April, in association with the council and The Conservation Volunteers. Further details from 
WALTHAM FOREST VOLUNTARY ACTION - are organising the Voluntary Sector Forum meeting, which is an opportunity  for all voluntary and community organisation to meet with the Councillors and Council Officers to find out what is going on in the borough on Tuesday 4 March see. 
PHOTO COMPETITION REMINDER - you have until midnight tonight (Friday) to enter the SLM competition.

NEXT SLM MEETING - MONDAY 10 MARCH AT 7.00 at the Princess of Wales pub on Lea Bridge Road - all welcome

P.M. (Post Munch) - for ideas on meals from your (non-exploitative) foraging see 

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